Uta delenda est. The vile desert people must be vanquished in the name of all that is good and purple. The Beehive State. Really? That implies that their skies are filled with buzzing, stinging vermin. Who wants that?
Our beloved Lumberjacks will attempt to repeat last year's first-round thrills on Thursday in Portland, taking on the Utes. It's the second year in a row that Stephen F. Austin has earned a 12 seed, and we all know that 12 is better than 5. This is demonstrably true: since 2008, 12 seeds are 15-13 against 5 seeds.
We announced the Lumberjacks' seed, and for some reason talked about a bunch of Big 12 teams too, because Stephen F. Austin is in Texas and I guess the Big 12 is pretty important there. Also, don't forget that SB Nation has a spiffy printable bracket for you to use.
Oh, the attention. The sports mediasphere is just bursting with one piece of advice: don't bet on Utah. Neil Greenberg of the Washington Post expects the Lumberjacks to not only beat Utah, but to knock off his hometown Georgetown Hoyas in the second round. Sweet Sixteen, baby! Matt Bonesteel, also of the Post, looks at all four 12 seeds to see who's most likely to move on.
John Marshall of the Associated Press (via the Spokane Spokesman-Review) singles out the Lumberjacks as a sleeper pick.
Brandon Gurney of the Deseret News (Salt Lake City's paper) introduces Utahns to the Lumberjacks. Gurney's colleague Mike Sorensen rants about the NCAA placing too much emphasis on strength of schedule, and one might wonder if he's irritated that the Utes are being forced to play an under-seeded squad.
Brent Shirley of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram breaks down the bracket, and he's outright calling for the upset.
USA Today's George Schroeder breaks down the South Region, and goes one step further: he's suggesting the very real possibility of a round of 32 matchup between the Lumberjacks and the 13th-seeded Eagles of Eastern Washington. Well, it's not like Georgetown's unfamiliar with being humiliated.
Matt Norlander at CBS picks the Jacks-Utes contest as one of the five must-watch games in the round of 64. In addition to outright stating it's his favorite game of the first round, Norlander points out that last year, the Lumberjacks hadn't lost since November 23, and this year they haven't lost since November 24.
Even Forbes is getting in on the act, as David Lariviere outlines winning strategies for your office pool. And of course, picking a 12 or two is among them.
Okay, now that we've gotten the Lumberjack news out of the way, it's K-State time.
The big story today that isn't an actual news story is the vast number of teams which declined invitations to the CBI after being passed over by the NCAA and NIT. Kansas State and TCU did so, of course, as did Oregon State, Memphis, Michigan, and Florida State among others. Indeed, the only non mid-major to accept a bid was Colorado, and even some mid-majors said "Thanks but no thanks" to both the CBI and CIT, notably Yale, Hawai'i, Western Kentucky, Akron, Toledo, Utah State, Chattanooga, Alabama State, and Georgia Southern.
Some coaches don't have jobs anymore, too, including Alabama's Anthony Grant, Charlotte's Alan Major, and Paul Hewitt at George Mason. Interestingly, Mason has their eye on Boston Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga... whose dad, Jim, led the Patriots to the Final Four before heading off to Miami.
The Wildcat ladies are in the Next Four Out in ESPN's women's bracketology, meaning there's a narrow chance their names might get called tonight (6pm on ESPN). If not, a WNIT bid is almost a certainty. We'll have more on this later this evening.
NFL.com's Gil Brandt reports on what he heard from Cincinnati's coaching staff at K-State's pro day. Brandt tabs Tyler Lockett as a second-round pick, says B.J. Finney's going to make a team, and even talks at length, and positively, about Curry Sexton, who posted a 4.66 40.
Rachel Gruber of our sister site Buffalo Rumblings notes that Bills fans should have their eyes on Finney.
The RallyCats both struck and missed yesterday, wiping out a four-run deficit and tying the game in the seventh but giving up three runs in the eighth as they fell 10-7 to Missouri State. The Cats (10-9) did win the series, taking two of three. They hit the road Tuesday, where they will play a pair of games at... ummm... well, this is awkward. At Stephen F. Austin. WHO DO WE ROOT FOR? After that, the BatCats visit Austin for a three-game weekend series with the Longhorns.
The ladies fell 4-0 at home to Texas Tech on Sunday, falling to 6-9 on the season and 0-2 in the conference.